New Year’s resolutions are acts of valuation where people express ideas about what is important and worthwhile in life. Although resolutions have a long history, the twenty-first century has transformed the practice into a social media ritual with greater visibility, interactivity, and reach. Using this unique event to explore the globalization of values, we analyze tweets about New Year’s resolutions in English, German, Italian, Japanese, and Korean. Combining network analysis (n = 160,592) and content analysis (n = 2000), we compare discursive topics, modes of ritual participation, and the values expressed in resolutions. Our findings indicate both that the ritual crosses cultures and that there are language-specific dynamics that do not map neatly onto established divisions between ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ value orientations. Instead, we identify three underlying tensions organizing the articulation of values: self-acceptance vs. self-improvement, public vs. private, and conformity vs. oppositionality. We discuss these in relation to an overarching tension between local contexts and global platform cultures. Finally, we explore the study’s broader implications for understanding the interaction between values, norms, and global communicative practices.
- Digital culture
- social media ritual